Preview: Germany faces Switzerland with both teams unbeaten and eyeing top spot in Group A

AP , Sunday 23 Jun 2024

Germany goes for a third straight win in Group A against a Switzerland team that also is unbeaten. Germany has advanced to the knockout stage and Switzerland looks sure to confirm its place Sunday. The kickoff in Frankfurt — at the same time as group rivals Hungary and Scotland meet in Stuttgart — is 9 p.m. local (1900 GMT).

Germany
Germany s head coach Julian Nagelsmann (C) speaks to his players at a training session at the team base camp in Herzogenaurach, southern Germany, on June 20, 2024. AFP

Here’s what to know about the match:

 

Match facts

— Both teams impressed in their first games: Germany routed Scotland 5-1 and Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1. Germany sustained its form by beating Hungary 2-0, the Swiss less so in a 1-1 draw with Scotland.

— Germany has already reached the round of 16 and with just a draw will finish top of Group A. That would send Germany to Dortmund for a knockout game next Saturday against the runner-up of Group C, which is currently Denmark.

— Switzerland will top the group if it wins. That would send Germany to Berlin to play the runner-up in Group B, which likely will be Italy or Croatia.

— Only freakish results could drop Switzerland to third place in the standings. The Swiss start Sunday three points ahead of Scotland, which plays Hungary also at 9 p.m. local time in Stuttgart. Switzerland has a huge goal-difference advantage over Scotland.

— The rain-soaked Frankfurt field has been a problem, even with a stadium roof that has been closed to protect the turf from the worst of persistent downpours this week.

Team news

— Germany had a full squad of 26 players in training Saturday morning. Coach Julian Nagelsmann has picked the same starting lineup for both games so far.

— Switzerland coach Murat Yakin is making changes in style and tactics. Though Kwadwo Duah scored against Hungary, he was dropped to face Scotland in favor of veteran Xherdan Shaqiri on the left side of attack — who duly delivered a standout goal.

— Kylian Mbappe’s nose is not the only damaged one at Euro 2024. Switzerland defender Fabian Schär also got a bloodied and fractured nose, though he played on against Scotland and should be available.

By the numbers

— 5-3 to Switzerland. The two team captains at Euro 2024, Granit Xhaka and Ilkay Gundogan, both played in a strange game 12 years ago. In a warmup for Euro 2012, which Germany qualified for and Switzerland didn’t, the Swiss gave their neighbors a beating in Basel. It was a rough debut for a 20-year-old German goalkeeper, Marc-André ter Stegen, then as now the backup to Manuel Neuer.

— Teams that win all three games in a Euros group have an up-and-down history. At the last edition, Italy swept through its group in Rome en route to the title. At Euro 2008 a vibrant Netherlands team romped through a tough group then lost next in the quarterfinals to Russia. Germany won all three group games in 2012 before losing in the semifinals to Italy and Mario Balotelli.

What they’re saying

— “It’s often been the case that the grass there isn’t so firm and that players have had problems with it.” — Germany and Stuttgart midfielder Chris Führich on the Frankfurt playing surface.

— “We’re happy that we’re in the round of 16. Nevertheless, it will be about finishing first in the group.” — Germany midfielder Toni Kroos.

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